Pensacola International Film Festival
The Pensacola International Film Festival is a film festival that was founded (as the Pensacola Bay International Film & Television Festival) by Pensacola film commissioner Tom Roush, Dee Dee Ritchie and others who wanted "to showcase our beautiful Gulf Coast as a progressive area." The name was later shortened to the Pensacola Bay International Film Festival and again to the current name.
The first festival took place from March 20-23, 2003. Some of the approximately 50 films screened included Purpose, a Showtime movie written by Roush; Made-Up, the directorial debut of Tony Shalhoub, who attended the screening; and Coral Reef Adventure, an IMAX movie shown at National Museum of Naval Aviation's theater. With the recent start of the Iraq War, much of NAS Pensacola had been closed to the public, and the estimated 850 attendees were forced to use the base's west gate at Blue Angel Parkway to access the museum. About 10,000 people attended the festival's 50 movies.
Many of the movies shown at the festival have local connections. For example, 2003 festival selection Purpose was written by director Tom Roush. In 2004, comedy troupe Broken Lizard, of which Pensacola native Eric Stolhanske is a member, screened their movies Club Dread, Super Troopers and Puddle Cruiser, and local filmmaker Daniel Stepp showed his short film "End of August." Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes attended the 2005 festival to premiere an episode of "Storm Stories" about Hurricane Ivan, and Pensacola native Anthony LaMolinara screened his short film Lonesome Matador and showed off his Visual Effects Oscar for Spider-Man 2.
Kevin Wheatley showed a 14-minute preview of Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell at the 2005 festival. The entire Threshold of Hell film, shot on Pensacola Beach, was the main attraction of the 2006 festival, as well as the documentary Jesus Camp featuring local attorney and liberal radio host Mike Papantonio. The 2007 festival opened with a screening of Lillie & Leander: A Legacy of Violence, about the 1908 lynching of Leander Shaw and its aftermath, on the park green of Plaza Ferdinand VII where Shaw was hanged. Another 2007 selection, Permanent Vacation, was filmed in the Pensacola area.
- "Pensacola film festival seeks to build big-screen respect." Pensacola News Journal, September 7, 2002.
- "Film festival kicks off." Pensacola News Journal, March 21, 2003.
- "That's a wrap! Film festival ends successful second year." Pensacola News Journal, March 22, 2004.
- PensacolaFilmFestival.com - Official site